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Taste the Beach set for Sunday

May 2, 2018
Jessica Salmond - News Editor ( , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

Twenty local restaurants will be vying for best dishes this Sunday.

You better start planning your strategy.

The Fort Myers Beach Chamber of Commerce will host its signature festival, Taste of the Beach, Sunday, May 6 from 11 4 p.m. The event will take place on Old San Carlos Boulevard, shutting the street down from Third Street down to the bay.

Article Photos

Bayfront Bistro presented a shrimp dish during last year's event. File photo.

Local restaurants will be serving up taster-sized portions of their signature dishes, hoping to win one of the coveted categories. A panel of judges, including noted chefs, authors and a Lee County Commissioner, will critique the flavors and presentations in best appetizer, best beef entree, best seafood entree, best chicken entree, best dessert and best decorated booth.

Fort Myers Beach Chamber of Commerce President Jacki Liszak said the festival is fun for the foodie: start at dessert and work back to appetizers, or go the traditional route.

"Or, pick a category and taste all the entries in that category so you know what to voice for in people's choice," she said.

The festival isn't just for the chefs. The servers have their own challenge.

One of the highlights of Taste of the Beach is the Server Competition, which pits serving teams against serving teams to see who can overcome obstacles to provide the best customer service. Last year, the contest began with preparing a table setting to delivering drinks and taking orders before carefully, and swiftly, bussing a table - all the while facing water guns and silly string and difficult customers while racing the clock. A press release from the Chamber promises this competition will be better than ever, and hopes for an engaged audience to egg on the competitive spirit.

There's also the prized people's choice award: event attendees will get to officially vote for their favorite dish, thanks to the Lee County Elections Office running the voting booths.

Awards will be held at 4 p.m.

But besides lots of delicious food, new this year will be 15 non-food vendors blended into the food vendors, selling art, gifts and more.

Jo List and Friends will provide live music from noon to 4 p.m.

Entry into the festival is $5, children under 12 years of age are free. Food tickets are $1 each, and the average plate costs five tickets.

Beer and wine will be available for purchase; proceeds from those sales will benefit the Friends of the Arts.

Participating restaurants are: The Salty Crab Bar and Grill, Nauti Parrot Dock Bar, Yucatan Beach Stand Bar and Grill, Sunset Beach Tropical Grill, MoJoe's Coffee Bar, La Ola Surfside Restaurant, The Beached Whale Seafood House, Doc Ford's Rum Bar and Grille, Dixie Fish Company, Castaways Bar and Grill, Bayfront Bistro, Fish-Tale Waterfront Dining, Royal Scoop, Pinchers, Bongo's Beach Bar and Grill, Nervous Nellies Waterfront Eatery, and Uncle Dan's Olde Fashioned Kettle Corn.

"I think what will surprise people is the variety of food available on our island," Liszak said. "And, the setting is great."



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